Hundreds of square kilometers of rainforest in the Amazon region burned for weeks in the summer of 2019. They were the worst Amazon rainforest burning in Brazil in years. Now, all of 2021 threatens to be even worse: According to data from Brazil’s INPE space institute, more than three times as many fires raged in 2020 as in 2019. More than 1.2 million hectares are said to have already been lost.
The dry season is not the only culprit – most of the fires are set intentionally. With illegal slash-and-burn, farmers, land speculators and large landowners want to make room for cattle grazing and soy cultivation.
The Amazon rainforest is in danger – but quite far away. However, we here in United States and all over the world can also do something to stop Amazon rainforest burining.
Buy only regional organic meat
According to the NGO Amazonwatch, in 2018, 41 percent of the EU’s beef exports came from Brazil. About 43,000 tons of meat (excluding poultry) have been imported into the German market, according to Statista. Anyone buying meat should make sure that it comes not only from sustainable organic animal farming, but also from the region. In general, the following always applies to meat: Less is more.
Do not buy furniture made from tropical wood
Among other things, the wood for our furniture and other products (such as paper) comes from the Amazon region. However, Brazil plays a minor role here as well – countries like Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand export far more than the Amazonian country. Yet, in South America, Brazil is ahead. A large part of the tropical wood is illegally logged and traded, writes the NGO Oro Verde. For this reason, buy furniture and other products from sustainable production.
Eliminate (conventional) palm oil
While palm oil plays a minor role in the Amazon region (most of it comes from Indonesia and Malaysia). Yet Brazil is still the twelfth largest palm oil producing country. Moreover, you can save the rainforest by avoiding palm oil, especially conventional palm oil.
Reduce paper consumption and use recycled paper
Today, United States is one of the largest paper producers of the world. However, the wood used for paper production rarely comes from domestic forests, instead mostly from Scandinavia, Indonesia – and Brazil. Paper is made of wood and rainforests are destroyed for wood. The quality of recycled paper made from waste paper is not inferior to that of virgin fiber paper, even though many people still see it as having a gray, dusty image.
Do not buy meat, eggs and milk from industrial farms.
Alongside livestock farming, soy cultivation is the main driver of rainforest deforestation in Brazil. The soy from the Amazon region also ends up in our country – as animal feed for factory farming. For this reason, buy only organic meat, eggs and dairy products. The general rule for animal products is: it’s better to consume less of them.
Support reforestation projects
Use Ecosia instead of Google. The sustainable search engine plants trees for every search – including in the Amazon rainforest. The tropical forest foundation Oro Verde also plants trees to save the rainforest. So does the organization Plant for the Planet.
Avoid products made of leather
Brazil is a major exporter of leather – 80 percent of Brazilian leather is exported. It is difficult to tell if your leather comes from Brazil. The most sensible thing to do, therefore, is actually to avoid leather. If you do choose leather, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Buy leather second hand if possible.
- Use leather products wisely.
- Buy leather products from sustainable brands.
Switch to sustainable banks
Large banks like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase invest millions in Brazilian cattle breeding and soy cultivation – ensuring that the rainforest is further destroyed. (The NGO Amazonwatch has researched this in detail: here.) Therefore, switch to a sustainable bank. A sustainable bank does not invest your money in rainforest deforestation, weapons or nuclear business.
Aluminum is derived from the ore bauxite. The majority of it is found in rainforest countries. Forests are cleared for its extraction – including in the Amazon. So the less you use aluminum, the more you can help to stop Amazon rainforest burning.
Draw attention to the problem
Find out more from NGOs like Greenpeace, Amazonwatch, Oro Verde or BUND. Again this year, you can share pictures, articles or simply your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #PrayforAmazonia or #Amazonrainforest. This way, you can ensure that as many people as possible become aware of the situation and that the issue remains a topic of conversation. After all, protecting the rainforest is essential for the continued existence of mankind.
So the more noise is made, the less politics, corporations and other decision makers can look the other way. We would be happy if you also share this article and if we can make it so that many people can become active. Do you know any other ways to prevent Amazon rainforest burning?